School Psychology: Doctoral Degree

A 5-year school psychology doctoral program can train you to conduct diagnostic assessments of children using evidence-based practices and to work with educators and parents to intervene and consult with students who face challenges. Find out the admission requirements and courses for school psychology doctoral degree programs, as well as the career outlook for the field. Schools offering Educational Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are School Psychology Doctoral Programs Like?

School psychology programs promote applied psychology so you'll also learn to apply school psychology theory to real-world situations and conduct research to develop effective ways to improve student learning. As a school psychology doctoral student, you'll likely learn to improve the emotional, academic and social health of students in elementary and secondary schools and develop expertise in the areas of student learning, cognition and behavior. Your education should prepare you to understand and appreciate students from diverse backgrounds, including students from different cultures and social classes.

Key Skills Address academic and psychological health of students, work with students from diverse backgrounds, develop methods for improving student learning
Prerequisites Undergraduate degree in school psychology field
Common Courses Cognitive assessment, counseling theory, classroom management, intervention and school-based consultation
Median Salary (2014)$68,900* (for clinical, counseling and school psychologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Need Before I Enroll?

Admission to doctoral school psychology programs is competitive. To attend a doctoral program, you should have an undergraduate degree that relates to the school psychology field. A graduate degree is not necessarily required, but can reduce the number of courses you'll take as part of your doctoral program. Many schools require you to submit Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, writing samples and letters of recommendation.

What Kind of Classes Might I Take?

Many school psychology programs cover a mix of topics meant to educate you in the ways students learn, develop and function. You might complete coursework in classroom management, counseling theory, cognitive assessment, intervention and school-based consultation. In addition to coursework and empirical research, you'll likely complete practicum experiences and internships, working hands-on with students and teachers in a classroom, hospital or clinic. Prior to graduation, you must write and present a dissertation. Due to the amount of hands-on training required for these programs, online options are rare.

What Can I Do After Graduate School?

Once you earn your Ph.D., you have to become licensed to practice in a school setting. Licensure requirements vary by state, but typically, you must earn the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential offered through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). To do so, you must pass a number of graduate-level courses, fulfill internship hours in a school setting and pass a national examination.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for clinical, counseling and school psychologists was projected to grow 20% between 2014 and 2024 because of an increasing demand for mental health services in schools and other settings (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that clinical, counseling and school psychologists earned a median annual wage of $68,900 as of May 2014.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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